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Health officer strongly urging businesses to re-instate indoor mask policies 

Businesses urged to have employees and patrons wear masks in indoor public places regardless of vaccination status

–As cases of COVID-19 increase significantly and the highly contagious Delta variant takes hold locally, the County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department strongly recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wears a mask indoors in public places. They believe that this will further limit spread of the Delta variant in the community.

“The Delta variant is sweeping quickly through our community and we need every tool we have to stop it,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County of San Luis Obispo Health Officer. “While vaccines remain our best tool against COVID-19, masking in indoor and crowded outdoor settings will help us curb the spread of this latest wave of infection.”

Last week, the CDC once again issued a recommendation that all people indoors or in close proximity with each other wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. The CDC recently published a study that found no significant difference in the viral load present in the breakthrough infections occurring in fully vaccinated people and the other cases, suggesting the viral load of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons infected with the coronavirus is similar, according to a July 30 story by NPR. The county health department has not returned questions regarding the transmissibility of the Delta variant among vaccinated people at the time of this story.

People are strongly recommended to wear masks indoors in settings like grocery or retail stores, restaurants and bars, fitness centers, theaters, and family entertainment centers, even if they are fully vaccinated. Businesses are urged to adopt universal masking for customers entering indoor areas of their businesses to provide better protection to their employees and customers.

The current California Department of Public Health (CDPH) masking mandate requires individuals who are not vaccinated to wear face coverings in indoor settings. In addition, face coverings are required for everyone in healthcare settings, senior care settings, jails, public transportation, and schools. With the highly transmissible Delta variant spreading quickly, fully vaccinated people are strongly encouraged to take the extra precaution of wearing a mask indoors.

For masks to work properly, they need to completely cover your nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of your face and around your nose, advices county public health.

COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County have increased dramatically over the past four weeks, from 100 active cases on July 16 to 1,250 active cases on August 17. San Luis Obispo County’s case rate is currently 33.9, the highest it has been since January 2021. To date, 1,551 new cases have been reported in the first two weeks of August, compared to 163 cases in the entire month of June.

Click here for detailed COVID-19 statistics for San Luis Obispo County. 

The Public Health Department continues to actively monitor transmission rates, hospitalizations, deaths and increasing vaccination rates throughout the county and will reevaluate the recommendation in the coming weeks.

To get a COVID-19 vaccine at a Public Health clinic in Paso Robles, Grover Beach, or San Luis Obispo, visit myturn.ca.gov or call (833) 422-4255 to choose your location, time and vaccine type, or walk in during open vaccine hours. See hours at www.RecoverSLO.org/Vaccine. To find other vaccine providers, visit myturn.ca.gov or VaccineFinder.org.

For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit ReadySLO.org or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at (805) 788-2903. Phone assistance is available at (805) 781-5500 Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on COVID-19 vaccine, visit www.RecoverSLO.org/Vaccine.


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About the author: News Staff

The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.